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S.F. SETTLES DA INVESTIGATOR’S SUIT San Francisco is settling a former DA investigator’s discrimination allegations for $95,000. In a lawsuit filed early last year in San Francisco Superior Court, Janet Prieto said her bosses discriminated against her because of her sex, race and an injury; allowed gender-based harassment; and retaliated against her for lodging complaints. And in a penalty petition filed with the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Prieto accused the city of discriminating against her because she filed a workers’ compensation claim. Under a “no fault” settlement authorized by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the city would pay Prieto $85,000 to settle the lawsuit and $10,000 to settle the penalty petition. The settlement awaits a mayor’s signature. City attorney spokeswoman Alexis Truchan called the settlement fair, while Sylvia Courtney, who represented Prieto in the superior court suit, described the resolution as a compromise. “It resolves the case and it gets it over with,” said Courtney, of San Francisco’s Courtney Law Offices. “But [my client] certainly doesn’t have the career that she expected to have.” Prieto, hired as an assistant investigator in 1995, alleged that her bosses failed to stop a male co-worker’s “hostile” conduct toward women despite her complaints. And she alleged that her supervisors denied her promotions because she is Hispanic and a woman with small children. One supervisor repeatedly asked if she planned to have more children and another commented that other Hispanic women had trouble completing police academy training due to their Latino husbands’ “machismo,” the complaint says. The DA’s office terminated Prieto in 2000, telling her she’d been hired for the duration of a contract, the complaint says. Prieto, who had been promoted to criminal investigator, contends she held a permanent job. Her complaint also named District Attorney Terence Hallinan and five investigators in his office as defendants, but those individuals were dismissed from the suit last year. — Pam Smith INSURERS MUST DEFEND NAPOLI FIRM IN SUITS NEW YORK — An insurance company must defend New York-based Napoli, Kaiser & Bern in a dispute with two other law firms over settlements in a mass tort litigation involving diet supplements, a Southern District judge has ruled. Judge John Koeltl said Tuesday that the “four corners” of the firm’s insurance policy entitle it to seek reimbursement for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees spent defending itself, even though the insurance company argued the complaints against Napoli, Kaiser dealt with contractual damages and fraudulent conduct. Koeltl’s ruling in Napoli, Kaiser & Bern v. Westport Insurance Corp., 02 Civ. 7931, involved coverage for federal and state suits brought against Napoli, Kaiser in connection with the referral of cases in the fen-phen and Redux drug litigation. The firms, Parker & Waichman and New Jersey-based Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, sued Napoli, Kaiser & Bern over thousands of clients they had referred to Napoli, Kaiser. Under the referral agreements, Koeltl said, Napoli Kaiser agreed to represent the referred clients and share a “substantial percentage” of the legal fees for those clients. But the two firms claimed that Napoli, Kaiser obtained higher awards for clients it was already representing and left the referred clients with smaller settlements that were less than their actual worth, which meant lower legal fees. — The New York Law Journal EMPLOYMENT LAW FIRM MOVES INTO FLORIDA MIAMI — In the latest move by an out-of-state law firm into one of South Florida’s hottest specialty niches, the country’s third-largest labor and employment firm is merging with a Miami boutique firm and will open its first Florida office Jan. 1. Atlanta-based Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart announced that it is merging with five-lawyer Whelan, DeMaio & Kiszkiel in Miami. Shareholder David DeMaio said the changing dynamics in the marketplace persuaded him and his partners to join up with a larger firm. But shareholder Stanley Kiszkiel, former regional counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will not be joining the new shop. Kiszkiel said he planned to open his own firm before merger talks began. Ogletree, Deakins has 190 lawyers in 18 offices. The Miami office of the firm will have four lawyers — shareholders DeMaio and Michael Whelan and associates Mike Davey and Kelly Cartus Hughes. The firm is also opening a New Jersey office Jan. 1. The firm does defense work only. Ogletree is just the latest national labor and employment law firm to branch into Florida in recent months. San Francisco-based Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest labor and employment law firm, entered the Miami market in April, but in a different manner. Instead of merging with an existing firm, Littler raided the local talent pool, hiring away nine lawyers from other firms. That firm said it had been looking to open a Florida practice for a decade. — Miami Daily Business Review

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